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Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

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This article was last updated Dec 02, 2019. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

What customer is this card best for?

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card is a good option for frequent spenders at gas stations and supermarkets, as you’ll earn a higher cashback rate on purchases in those categories.

If you’re someone who has a balance on an existing card or plan on making a large purchase, there is a good 0% intro period for transfers and purchases — 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days and 0% Introductory APR on purchases for 15 billing cycles. After both intro periods, there’s a 15.49% - 25.49% Variable APR on purchases. The 0% intro APR period can save you a tidy sum compared with carrying debt on a high-interest card.

This card isn’t for people who don’t spend in the bonus categories, as you’ll earn a subpar rate on all other purchases. You would be better off with a flat-rate card that earns you a consistently high rate on all purchases like the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer or a rewards card that is more aligned with your spending.

This card also isn’t for people who need a long time to pay off a balance. You can find other low interest cards with 0% intro periods of 18 or 21 months.

Where this card stands out in its category

Flexible cashback program. Cardholders have the ability to choose from one of six categories to earn 3% cash back each month: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings. Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs for the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases, 1% cash back on every purchase The ability to change the bonus cashback category each month is unique since many cards only allow you to select new bonus categories every quarter or don’t allow you to choose at all.

Redemption bonus. This card offers great redemption bonuses for cardholders with an active personal (nonbusiness) checking, savings or individual retirement account with Bank of America or who are a member of Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated or U.S. Trust (excluding 401(k) or other employer sponsored plans and 529 plans): Preferred Rewards members can earn 25-75% more cash back on every purchase when cash back is redeemed into a Bank of America® checking or savings account. This allows you to maximize your cashback earnings.

Where this card falls short in its category

This card falls short in the quarterly maximum it has on bonus categories: earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs for the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases, 1% cash back on every purchase).  Since the cap applies to spending across all bonus categories, very big spenders in these categories may not earn the best cashback rate and may benefit more from both a grocery card and gas card. However, the cap is higher than you’ll get with some other cards that cap bonus category spending at $1,500 a quarter.

Another drawback of this card is the relatively short intro period for purchases and balance transfers. You can find cards with longer intro periods that offer more time to pay off your debt.

Additional card benefits

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card offers several additional card benefits beyond its cash back program and 0% intro APR periods:

  • FICO® score for free: Any unauthorized charges on your account won’t be your responsibility.
  • $0 liability guarantee: Unauthorized purchases made on your account are not at your expense.
  • Online chat: No need to call a representative. You can easily log on to online banking to chat about any questions you may have.
  • Digital wallet technology: Utilize the easy payment features of Apple Pay®, Microsoft™ Wallet, Android Pay™ or Samsung Pay to pay in-app, online or in-store.

How to use the card most effectively

To get the most value out of the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card, be sure to use it for all of your gas, grocery, and wholesale club purchases. This will allow you to earn the higher cashback rate on these purchases (until you hit the cap).

For all other spending, it’s a good idea to use a flat-rate card like the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer so you can earn a higher rate than if you only used the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card. Also, make sure to spend the required amount in the given time period to earn the signup bonus.

If you plan on taking advantage of the 0% intro APR period for a large purchase, make sure you complete the purchase as soon as possible so you can take advantage of the majority of the intro period. For those who want to complete a balance transfer, be aware you have to transfer your balance within 60 days from account opening, and there is a transfer fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

Rewards breakdown

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card recently revamped its cashback program to offer 3% cash back on gas or your choice of one of five other popular categories, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and unlimited 1% on all other purchases (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases). The changes benefit cardholders who want to have control over which spending category earns 3% cash back. The 3% cashback category can be changed monthly, compared to cards that automatically select bonus categories each quarter.

If you’re a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% – 75% more cash back on every purchase.

There is a signup bonus for this card that will earn you additional cash back so long as you complete your application online and meet the requirements: $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

Compare it with the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

If you spend large sums at supermarkets, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers a higher cashback rate of 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) compared to the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card, which offers a lower 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs for the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases. However, the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card also includes wholesale clubs at 2% cash back.

If offsetting gas expenditures are top of your list, the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card is a better choice since you can earn 3% cash back after you select gas stations as the bonus category. The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express earns a lower 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations.

Rewards programs aside, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express provides more added benefits than the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card, such as travel accident insurance, cell phone protection, free two-day shipping with ShopRunner and more.

Here’s a breakdown of the key terms of each card:

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Annual fee $0 $0
Purchase intro rate 0% Introductory APR on purchases for 15 billing cycles 0% on purchases for 15 months
Balance transfer intro rate 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days N/A
Balance transfer fee Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater. N/A
Ongoing APR 15.49% - 25.49% Variable APR on purchases 13.99%-23.99% Variable
Rewards 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs for the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases, 1% cash back on every purchase 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign up bonus $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
Foreign transaction fee 3% 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

Bottom line

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card offers a good cashback program for spenders at gas stations, supermarkets and wholesale clubs, as well as a decent 0% intro APR period that can provide you with the time needed to pay a balance. However, there are cards that can offer you longer 0% intro APR periods and better cashback programs.


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